Looking for a fabulous dessert that folks will love? Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake will make everyone happy! It is a deliciously moist cake topped with gooey caramelized pears. It is a perfect dessert any time but especially for fall!
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Not only are there sweet pears on top of the cake but pears are also studded throughout the batter. The combination of spices give the cake a gingerbread flavor so nice to finish a meal with or as a treat with your mid-morning coffee break.
Plan on purchasing the pears in advance of making this cake giving them time for ripening.
Whether for eating or cooking, you want to use pears that are ripe, sweet and juicy. The skin on a Bartlett pear brightens as it ripens but most varieties do not show a change in color. So how can you tell when a different variety of pear is fully ripened?
Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree. The pear is harvested when it is mature, but not yet ripe. It takes a little patience for them to become sweet and juicy.
Tips for ripening pears
- Leave pears on the counter at room temperature and they will slowly ripen from the inside out.
- Place underripe pears near other ripening fruit like bananas, which naturally give off ethylene and will help speed up the ripening process
- Check for ripeness every day. Apply gentle pressure to the stem end or the neck of the pear with your thumb. The pear is ripe and ready when it yields to the pressure.
- Once the pears are fully ripe, you can store them in the refrigerator. They should stay good for up to five days.
- To keep sliced pears looking appetizing and from browning, dip them in a bowl of equal amounts of water and lemon juice.
Wash Before Eating
Eliminate dirt and bacteria found on the surface of the pear by washing under cold water. Use your hands or a soft produce brush to thoroughly scrub the entire exterior. Wash the pear even if you plan on peeling it.
Now on to the recipe:
Preparing the pan for Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake
The photos in this post show the cake being made without wrapping the pan as described below. Twice now I have made the cake without the parchment and both times then butter seeped out and I had to quickly put a pan in the over to catch the drips. It is well worth the extra few minutes to prepare the pan.
Many recipes, including cheesecakes, are baked in a springform pan. A springform pan is a type of baking pan that features sides that can be removed from the base. The base and the sides are separate pieces that are held together when the base is aligned with a groove that rings the bottom of the walls.
How to keep your springform pan from leaking
Here are a few suggestions to prevent a messy oven situation from a leaky springform pan.
- Place the springform cake pan on a baking sheet. This prevents the butter from pooling onto the oven bottom but you still have a messy pan to clean.
- Place the springform pan into a slightly large can pan. A 10-inch cake pan is perfect for a 9-inch springform pan.
- Line the inside bottom of the pan with parchment, extending the circle out past the channel where the bottom and the ring fit together, making it a tighter seal. Then wrap the exterior with foil, up the sides.
After lightly spraying the inside of a 9-inch springform pan, evenly arrange the thinly sliced butter pieces. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 3/4-teaspoon of cinnamon.
Sprinkle the mixture over the butter slices.
Peel and core the pears. I like the way a melon-baller makes it easy to remove the core.
Slice the pear into thin slices.
Arrange the pear slices over the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Preparing the cake batter
These are the spices that give the cake its wonderful flavor. A lovely combination of ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg.
In a bowl, whisk together the spices with the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a second bowl, mix 1/2 cup softened butter and brown sugar.
Add the eggs and mix just until incorporated.
Then add the applesauce and molasses.
Mix until combined.
Mix flour mixture into moist egg and sugar mixture until blended.
Once blended, add diced pear and gently fold in with a spatula.
Spoon the cake mixture over layered pears in springform pan. Bake at 350° in a regular oven or at 325° in convection oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove from pan.
Turn the cake upside down onto a plate. Peel away the parchment paper if you used it. I like to run a long metal spatula under the bottom so the pear topping stays intact. This step isn’t necessary, just something I do.
And there you have it. A most delicious cake. It is pretty perfect just as it is but if you must, serve with whipped cream.
Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake
1/4 cup butter, cut into thin slices
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 rounded tsp ginger
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup applesauce
1 ripe pear, peeled & small diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly butter or use cooking spray to grease your 9-inch springform pan.
Layer the butter on the bottom of springform pan.
Sprinkle the mixture of 1 tbsp brown sugar and 3/4 tsp cinnamon over the butter.
Arrange the pear slices over the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Preparing the cake batter:
In a bowl, whisk together the spices with the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt.
In second bowl, mix 1/2 cup softened butter, brown sugar.
Add the eggs and mix until incorporated.
Add applesauce and molasses mixing until combined.
Mix flour mixture into moistened egg and sugar mixture until blended.
Add diced pears and gently fold in with a spatula.
Spoon cake mixture over layered pears in springform pan.
Bake at 350° in regular oven or at 325° in convection oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes; carefully remove from pan and turn upside down onto a cake plate. Peel away the parchment if you used it.
Note: If you do not wrap the springform pan be sure to place a pan on the oven rack under the cake to catch the butter drips. I baked this recipe before it was updated and ended up having to run the exhaust fan while baking and cleaning the oven afterward.
You can substitute 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice for the ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
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